Wednesday, January 31, 2007


You may have noticed a significant lack of posting on my part over the last few weeks. I'm afraid it will go on for some time, and may even become permanent.

Part of the problem is, obviously, time. This term makes last seem easy, and it's only going to get more hectic from here on out. Betwen school, homework, being a dad, and being sick, I haven't had much time to blog.

Part of the problem is a lack of inspiration. Nothing seems to make me want to blog these days. Politics? Blah. Everyone's minds are made up: left, right, middle. We're not going to convince each other, all we're doing now is marking our territory. I'm still committed to my convictions, and I'm just as committed to voting those convictions, but I've seriously begun to question the usefulness of pontification about it here on this blog. Food? I'm spending hours every day studying it, talking about it, making it, I kinda want a break from it here. The Lad just turned two, and there's plenty I could say about that, but that's about it. There are plenty of issues in my life I could talk about here, and in fact would LOVE to vent about in a blog, but the problem is, people who know me in person read this blog, and I don't want everyone I know knowing everything about me. It would be nice had I maintained some anonymity, and could use this blog as catharsis, but that's not the case.

So there it is. I've grown fond of the interaction between myself and my readers, especially my fellow bloggers (I'm looking at you, Naked Villainy, Llama Butchers, Ken and Emily, Bobgirrl, Eugene Rants, Nightfly, and a host of others!), but I wonder if I've run out of things to say.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Can You Say Swamped, Boys and Girls?

Throughout toe first Term plus of Culinary School, it's been interesting to observe the difference between learning a new concept, and experiencing a new concept. What we are taught in the classroom, we actually do in the lab.

This week's culinary concept which I learned last term but only truly experienced for the first time yesterday?

In the Weeds.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Changing of the Guard

Indianapolis Colts 38
Monkey On Their Backs New England Patriots 34

Indianapolis was down 21-3 at one point, making this the biggest conference championship comeback in NFL history.

Having spent a couple of years in college in Fort Wayne, and still having friends from Indiana, I've watched their hearts break time and again as the Colts have come so close but fallen short, more often than not brought low by the Patriots. I can only imagine how much sweeter this championship must be because of the team they beat.

Congratulations to the Colts and their fans -- enjoy the Miami sunshine.

Friday, January 12, 2007

For Everyone Who's Endured High School Lit Class Movie Day

A tip of the toque to Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy:

Peter Sellers reciting the Beatles a la Olivier as Richard III

Friday, Fishday

Since it's Friday, I decided to cook seafood for dinner, and I decided to go with slumgullion.

Slumgullion originally was a word to describe a watery meat stew, and comes from the California Gold Rush, but a more modern western U.S. meaning of the term is a soup made similarly to New England Clam Chowder, but including other seafood as well as the clams. It is a chowder well suited to Oregon's seafood. Here's the recipe I used:

6 oz. Dungeness crab meat
6 oz. shrimp meat (I use the tiny sweet shrimp native to the Oregon coast)
4 0z. bacon
2 lbs. clams in shell (I actually only used 12 oz., but the only shortcoming of the final dish was a lack of sufficient clam chunks)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 tbsp. butter
1 cup sweet yellow onion, small dice
1/2 cup celery, small dice
2.5 lbs Russett potatoes
salt to taste
pepper to taste
fresh thyme to taste

Mise en Place:
stock pot
2 large saucepans (3 quart or bigger)
wooden spoon
paring knife
chef's knife
Chinois or mesh strainer
non-reactive bowl
cutting board

Place the potatoes in one of the saucepans and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer until fork soft. Blanch, peel, and cut large dice.

While the potatoes are boiling, place an inch of water in the stock pot, bring to a boil, add the clams. Boil for 5 minutes and drain, straining the water through a chinois or mesh strainer into a bowl. Chop the clams and rinse, removing the stomach grit.

Cut the bacon into half-inch pieces. In a second large saucepan, render the bacon and add the small diced onion and celery, sweat until clear. Deglasse with 1 cup of the clam water and transfer to the stock pot. Add the clams, shrimp, crab meat, potatoes, cream, butter, remaining clam water and milk, simmer for 1 hour, adding salt, pepper, and thyme at the half hour mark.

Makes 6-8 servings.

I made a simple parmesan toast to go with it, and paired it with a Chilean Sauvignon Gris, which was wonderful, but any white wine with a citrus component would go well with it.


A tip of the toque to best friend Lurch, who forwarded me this e-mail. It's apocryphal but amusing:

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client who lost his house in Hurricane Katrina and wanted to rebuild. He was told the loan wouldbe granted if he could prove satisfactory title to the parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property datedback to 1803, which took the Lawyer three months to track down.

After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply (Actual letter):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented theapplication, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (Actual Letter):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area,would not know that Louisiana was purchased, by the U.S., from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella. The good queen, Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus ' expedition. Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner oforigin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA.

I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn loan?"

The loan was approved!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gwynn In

I never doubted it for a moment. Tony Gwynn has been elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eleigibility with 97.61%, seventh highest vote in history.

As a lifelong Padres fan, Gwyn epitomized Baseball for me. He was a technically excellent hitter -- I remember a poster Nike had that had a schematic diagram of the perfect hitting stance fading into a photo of T. Gwynn. He's also Mr. San Diego -- he played his high school, college, and pro ball ALL in the city of San Diego, and now he coaches for his Alma Mater, SDSU. He was good natured, a sportsman, an gentleman, a humble guy, and a humanitarian. If you look up the word "nice" in the dictionary, there's his picture. He was a gold glove fielder, and the quintessential team player -- on at least one occasion foregoing salary raises he could easily have merited so that the Pads could fit a needed deal in under the salary cap.

Congratulations, Tny, you deserve this honor, and I'm proud to say I was there in the Murph on numerous occasions to witness your stellar career.

Mmmm M!

Two or three items of epicurian interest to report/recommend:

1. For the most part, I prefer to buy and pair local wines when I cook and stock my rack, especially aince I cook so may locally flavored dishes. However, I'm not above enjoying wine from ther sources, and my Sister-in-Law gave us a great wine for Christmas -- as much as this pains me to say, an excellent California wine: Campus Oaks 2003 Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel, from Gnekow Family Wineries. It's a full-bodied red, but it's not as acidic and dry as a lot of big reds I've tried -- it's softer than a Cab or Merlot, but fuller than a Pinot. It has a lot of fruit and berrie accents, and is incredibly smooth and mellow -- The SIL paired it with prime rib on Christmas Eve, and that worked well, but we had our bottle by itself, without food, and that worked well -- it's not sweet, but it was vaguely reminiscent of Port, and I imagine it would go well with a dessert, especially chocolate.

2. For my local readers, the new Market of Choice in South Eugene is open and amazing -- the architecture is very Northwest, it's clean, well-stocked, and the staff is friendly. If you decide to grab a nosh from the Deli, I highly recommend the Cheese Steward's Pannini: Thin-sliced Black Forest Ham, Gruyere, Brie, and smoked Gouda on a perfect bread -- the crust so crisp it shatters when you bite into it, and an interior so light you swear it'll float away.

3. While I was there, I tried a sample of some Bela brand Portuguese sardines packed in a tomato sauce -- delicioso! The salt of the sardines offsets the acid of the tomato nicely, and the mild seafood taste is nowhere nearly as fishy as you'd fear. they were served on saltines, but I think a water cracker or toasted baguette slices would be better, since the sardines don't really need the extra salt. I'm also thinking they would be great in a salad, though I haven't give much thought to what kind.

Friday, January 05, 2007

True to my Word(s), I'm Eating Them

Each of us puts foot to mouth from time to time, and that's just what I did in my post excoriating Smallholder. It was obvious to everyone but myself that the post was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and since then, personal emails from Smallholder and others at Naked Villainy have confirmed that the snark was aimed at a personal friend, not a political figure.

I was wrong, and I'm sorry.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Numbskulls and Bones

The Good Shepherd had some good parts as well, but once again, elements of the plot were lacking. What I found most intriguing was the portrayal of Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale University. The Good Shepherd, ostensibly a movie about the founding of the CIA, takes on an umistakable homoeroticism when the Bonesmen are on the stage. Who knew that an organization that counts Presidents among its ranks could be so thoroughly, thoroughly queer.
- Smallholder, Naked Villainy
SH (a man I once respected) goes on to make a snarky remark about "knowing someone in the organization". Apparently, he thinks that because a movie portrays things as being a certain way, that makes them so (aka "The Syriana Effect"). That explains a lot about his positions on a lot of topics.

It's the Size of the Fight in the Dog

Oklahoma University 42
Boise State University 43

As a native of the Pacific Northwest, and a former resident of Idaho, my congratulations to the Broncos. To the Sooners, I ask, what's your excuse this time?

And to the Sports Reporter who spoiled the BSU player's surprise when he proposed to his girlfriend, you, sir, are a schmuck.